process
Posted: 01 June 2018 05:13 AM   [ Ignore ]
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  366
Joined  2007-02-13

Not about the word’s origin, but its obsolescence.  Or rather, the obsolescence of the sense of to move in a procession.  Slate has an advice column.  Wedding insanities are a frequent topic, including the most recent column here:  https://slate.com/human-interest/2018/05/dear-prudence-my-brothers-wife-is-jealous-of-the-bridesmaid-he-walked-with-in-my-wedding.html The writer discussing the wedding party “processing down the aisle.” Several of the commenters reacted to this usage, finding it very weird.  At least one figured out the tie with “procession” but thought is an idiosyncratic usage.  There also was a suggestion that the writer must have meant “proceeding.”

These reactions struck me as odd, as this usage is a perfectly normal part of my active vocabulary.  Upon reflection, it dawned on me that anyone who doesn’t attend a liturgical church is rarely exposed to processionals (much less recessionals) and therefore wouldn’t pick up the lingo. 

Then I looked up the word on Merriam Webster.  It characterizes this usage as chiefly British.  Now I am weirded out.  I expect the usage comes from the Church of England, but it is bog standard in the Episcopal Church.  My Lutheran tradition, when we started worshiping in English a century and a half or so back, stole wholesale from Archbishop Cranmer.  Why reinvent the language when he already did such a good job of it?  In any case, we adopted Episcopalian vocabulary at the same time.  I find Webster’s characterization more surprising than I do the Slate commenters’.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 01 June 2018 06:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1630
Joined  2007-03-21

Upon reflection, it dawned on me that anyone who doesn’t attend a liturgical church is rarely exposed to processionals (much less recessionals) and therefore wouldn’t pick up the lingo.

My thoughts exactly. We have been “dumbing down” liturgical language in order to make it more “user friendly” for those who have never attended what Richard calls “a liturgical church” or any church at all.

No longer do we refer to the Choral piece at the beginning of the liturgy as an “introit” But simply a choral or instrumental “introduction.” The response to the offering is just a “song of praise” rather than a “Doxology.” The “Eucharistic Prayer” is a “Prayer of thanksgiving”. Never would we refer to the introduction to that prayer, ("We lift up our hearts") as the Sursum Corda.” We don’t even use the word “Eucharist” but rather “Communion.” The prayer before reading scripture is not a “Collect” but a “Prayer for Inspiration.”

As for “Processional” and “Recessional”, well, we just walk in and walk out.

Weddings, inasmuch as they combine much old fashioned or traditional stuff, still usually refer to the entrance of the bridesmaids and groomsmen (also old fashioned words) as a Procession but not Recession.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 02 June 2018 04:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6483
Joined  2007-01-03

I expect the usage comes from the Church of England, but it is bog standard in the Episcopal Church.  My Lutheran tradition, when we started worshiping in English a century and a half or so back, stole wholesale from Archbishop Cranmer.

Not at all. The verb is British in origin, but only dates to 1814, not from the Reformation. It began as a slang back-formation, not in liturgical language. As it became normalized, the church picked up the usage.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 07 June 2018 08:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4055
Joined  2007-02-26

This somewhat specialised verb has the emphasis on the second syllable, and the noun has the emphasis on the first syllable. This is common for two syllable noun-verb pairs.

It is interesting, then, that the now more common verb, meaning “to subject to a process”, bucks this trend and has the emphasis on the first syllable.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 June 2018 10:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3101
Joined  2007-01-30

Commentate is a similar back-formation, or, to adopt OED’s caution, “apparently” it was so formed. OED has a 1951 cite in the modern sense. There are earlier senses from 1794 onward with the meaning comment but these are labeled as ‘rare’ and there are no post-19th century cites.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 June 2018 11:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1630
Joined  2007-03-21
Dave Wilton - 02 June 2018 04:36 AM

I expect the usage comes from the Church of England, but it is bog standard in the Episcopal Church.  My Lutheran tradition, when we started worshiping in English a century and a half or so back, stole wholesale from Archbishop Cranmer.

Not at all. The verb is British in origin, but only dates to 1814, not from the Reformation. It began as a slang back-formation, not in liturgical language. As it became normalized, the church picked up the usage.

I assume you are referring to the verb “to process”. There is an older verb “to procession” which dates to the mid 16th century. Richard was no doubt referring to the nouns “procession” or “processional” which are from the Latin and are much older than even the Reformation.

etymonline says,

to go in procession,” 1814, “A colloquial or humorous back-formation” from procession [OED."]

I wonder where etymonline gets the notion of “humorous” from the 1814 quote. Is it because it seems to follow the verbs “progress” and “transgress”? Is that funny somehow?

To Richard’s point, anyone raised in a liturgical tradition would understand the use of the verb in it’s albeit shortened form and it’s connection to the ancient word “procession.” To Process is in common enough use to make Richard’s point. We don’t, for example, use “to processional” in a church context anymore. Not even in weddings.

[ Edited: 08 June 2018 11:46 AM by Oecolampadius ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 June 2018 05:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6483
Joined  2007-01-03

But the verb to procession doesn’t appear to be used in a liturgical context, at least not according the OED citations. The only one that is church-related is the first, which is from John Bale, and he, as was his wont, used the term in the context of criticizing the Roman Catholic church for its excessive pomp and circumstance.

Richard was no doubt referring to the nouns “procession” or “processional” which are from the Latin and are much older than even the Reformation.

No, he was clearly referring to the verb to process. Note his discussion of Merriam-Webster’s “chiefly British” usage note.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 June 2018 10:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3522
Joined  2007-01-31

FWIW, at my college the very “process” (= to go in procession, pronounced as noted above with stress on the second syllable) is routinely used in describing academic ceremonies such as graduation.

Profile
 
 
   
 
 
‹‹ Reiterate/iterate      -by, suffix ››